Wailua Falls, located on the East side of Kauai was so alluring that we visited it twice. These waterfalls are extremely easy to access, you can literally drive right up to the top of them. After we got out of the car and looked at the bottom of the falls we could see people swimming… way down there and this made me crazy! I wanted to swim down there too! How did they get there? I wanted to try it. If you look at the picture you can see them swimming (above) it looked so fun but how do we get there?
I had noticed a bunch of cars back about half a km down the road so we headed that way and found a little trail down the hill. This trail was CRAZY steep. You literally had to use tree roots as a ladder to inch you way down the hill. It took us about 40 minutes to climb to the bottom but we made it, BUT then we were faced with the river. (picture below)
At first walking along the river seemed like an easy task. We were wrong! After slipping and sliding we decided to turn back. At that moment we came across of group of young Australians who told us that we had chosen the “hard way” and there was an easier way than walking along the river.
As it was getting late in the day so we decided to head back to the hotel and try again tomorrow. Climbing up the hill was actually easier and faster than climbing down. My kids were exhausted and so was I. The next day we returned and looked for the “easy” trail that the Aussies had told us about. It was right near the parking lot at the top of the falls. It was not marked, there was a “keep out” sign and just a little indication of a path. For those of you looking for the way down, if you stand and look at the falls, the path is just at then end of the guard rail to your right.
When you get down the hill, which is extremely steep, probably steeper than the trial we used the previous day, the deafening roar of the falls tells you how close you are. When we got to the bottom there were some local Hawaiians there, they had climbed down barefoot! They said it was the way they always did it and laughed at us all covered in mud from sliding down on our bottoms. We had a beer with them and celebrated our victory in making it to the pool
Swimming in the pool at the base of the falls was one of the greatest travel experiences I have ever had. It was beautiful. The water was cold and refreshing after a grueling hike down. The waves from the tourists way up above reminded me of how I had waived to the swimmers the day before as I looked down and hoped I could do the same.
Wailua Falls, was a definite highlight for our family. The thrill of swimming beneath such amazing beauty is something I will never forget.
TIPS: Must be strong on your feet, strong balance and able to climb.
The second time we did the climb, we literally wore bathing suits and T shirts only. That way we could scoot down on our bottoms when needed.
Leave your valuables in your hotel!
Take some drinks for a victory celebration when you get to the bottom! Aloha.